Troopers ignored man’s deterioriating health during Ohio traffic stop, lawsuit says

Posted Aug 14, 2016 at 12:01 AM

State Highway Patrol troopers were so intent on making a drug bust that they ignored the deteriorating health of the suspect, a diabetic who convulsed into unconsciousness in the back of a cruiser and died soon afterward, according to a lawsuit filed by the man’s children.

State Highway Patrol troopers were so intent on making a drug bust that they ignored the deteriorating health of the suspect, a diabetic who convulsed into unconsciousness in the back of a cruiser and died soon afterward, according to a lawsuit filed by the man’s children.

Perry R. Galloway Jr.’s children filed the lawsuit this month in federal court in Columbus. Their father was a former president of the NAACP in Wheeling, West Virginia, according to his obituary.

“The troopers clearly were driven to find drugs,” attorney Jeffrey A. Grove of Wheeling said in an interview last week. “In doing so, they did not give enough attention to Mr. Galloway’s condition and his complaints.”

Galloway suffered a heart attack during the traffic stop in Guernsey County on March 31, 2015, according to the Licking County coroner’s office, which performed an autopsy. No illegal drugs were found in his car.

Galloway was heavily involved in multiple causes to help blacks and poor residents of east Wheeling, said Otto Turner, who coached with Galloway in youth leagues.

“If Perry Galloway didn’t do a lot of what he did, black kids and poor white kids in east Wheeling would never have had an opportunity to do anything in Wheeling,” Turner said.

Galloway’s daughter Chaundraya Goodwin said her father made her and her brother attend NAACP meetings and protest a KKK rally when she was 11.

“He made sure we knew what we were up against,” Goodwin said. “We weren’t going to get a handout from anybody.”

Goodwin filed suit as the administrator of her father’s estate.

Named as defendants are Troopers Stephen W. Roe, Scott W. Bayless and Gregory A. Mamula. The state attorney general’s office said it hadn’t yet received a copy of the suit last week.

A patrol investigation, the troopers’ cruiser cameras and body microphones document what happened when Roe, parked in the median of Interstate 70 west of Cambridge, encountered Galloway’s eastbound 1987 Nissan at 11:15 a.m. on March 31, 2015.

Roe said the approaching car with tinted windows moved “abruptly” from the passing lane to the right lane and slowed. He pulled out and drove up beside the car on the driver’s side, then backed off and followed at a distance.

The lawsuit contends that Roe profiled “Galloway as a person who may have drugs.” Galloway was black. Grove, who is white, said, “If Jeff Grove pulls from the left lane to the right lane, I’m not getting tailed and my plate run.”

A little while later, Roe’s dash cam captured the Nissan moving from the right lane to the left lane, passing a tractor-trailer, then speeding back into the right lane and immediately taking the exit ramp to State Route 723. Roe later joked that the maneuver was like a chase scene from the movie “The French Connection.”

Roe pulled off and stopped the Nissan on the exit ramp. Bayless, a trooper in the canine unit, arrived at the same time.

Galloway told Roe he was driving home to Wheeling after visiting his fiancee in Columbus. The 54-year-old said that he wasn’t feeling well, was diabetic and had a heart stent.

“Sure you’re OK? You seem like you’re struggling a little bit,” Roe said.

The trooper asked whether Galloway had eaten, and at one point asked him if he “wants a squad.” Galloway’s response, if any, can’t be heard.

“I submit that when he told you he does not feel well, it’s not good enough just to ask for a squad,” Grove said. An ambulance should have been called to “increase the chance that Perry would have survived,” he said.

Grove said Galloway gave his name as Michael E. Galloway, his brother’s name. He said Galloway was ill and likely confused.

At 11:27 a.m., Roe had Galloway sit in the back seat of his Dodge Charger cruiser while Bayless’ dog went through the Nissan. Roe helped Galloway look through his bag of medicine.

Bayless told Galloway, who was not handcuffed, that the dog detected narcotics and questioned him about drugs. Galloway insisted there were no illegal drugs in the car.

Galloway asked if there was someplace he could sit until someone could pick him up. Bayless told him to put his feet inside the cruiser.

“I can’t even get in here, sir,” the 6-foot, 220-pound Galloway said.

Bayless retrieved Galloway’s reading glasses then shut the door at 11:32 a.m. Galloway appeared uncomfortable and was breathing heavily as he looked through his medications.

About 13 minutes later, Roe opened the door and asked, “Feeling any better?” Galloway responded: “Yes, lots better.” Roe then told him that they had found a photo ID that said his first name was Perry. Grove said Galloway’s speech was slurred and he appeared more confused.

While he was in the back seat of the cruiser, Galloway injected himself at least twice with what’s believed to be an insulin pen and took nitroglycerin tablets.

At 11:56, he began to convulse. The door opened, and Roe told him to “hang on” and called for the other troopers to summon an ambulance.

As Galloway began to slump in the seat, Bayless came to the door. “We’ll get you a squad and then you go to jail after you have the squad, but you’re not going to get out of that, OK?” he said.

“Perry, we have a warrant for your arrest out of Belmont County,” Roe said. It was for failure to appear in a traffic case.

Roe assured Galloway, now prone on the seat, that a medic was on the way.

“Perry! C’mon buddy!” he said as he tapped Galloway on the face in an attempt to rouse him.

“C’mon man, don’t do this!” Roe said. The troopers, now including Mamula, pulled Galloway from the cruiser and laid him on the ground.

The squad arrived at 12:04 p.m. and left 10 minutes later for the Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center in Cambridge, where Galloway was pronounced dead at 12:27 p.m.

Goodwin said her father looked out for everyone.

“If someone was being discriminated, if their kid needed help get a scholarship, whatever,″ Goodwin said. “He was everyone’s go-to guy.”



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